Rural Intelligence: The Online Magazine for Eastern New York, Western Connecticut and the Southern Berkshires
Friday, December 09, 2016
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Links to stories concerning our region in other media:

The NYT Style Magazine
A Vibrant Upstate New York Town, Set Against a Quaint Backdrop

The New York Times loves Germantown, N.Y. as much as we do.

The Wall Street Journal
In the Hudson River Valley, a Family Legacy in Riverfront Mansions

A small group of wealthy homeowners — hotelier André Balazs and artist Brice Marden among them — have restored the estates of the Livingston clan.

The New York Times
A Summer Day With Gregory Crewdson

The photographer takes us through his daily routine in Great Barrington, Mass.

The New York Times
How Meredith Rollins Spends Her Sundays

The Redbook editor-in-chief and White Hart Inn co-owner enjoys spending family time in Litchfield County.

The New York Times
Clark Art Institute Announces New Leader

Olivier Meslay, a longtime curator at the Dallas Museum of Art and before that at the Louvre, will take over in August.

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Shopping: Our Holiday Guide To Gifts From The Region

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All year long, as RI’s assistant editor Amy Krzanik has explored the region and combed through sheaths of press releases, she’s filed away candidates for inclusion in our annual holiday gift guide. It’s never hard finding things made here; the hard part is narrowing them down. The food makers keep on making, the crafters keep crafting, the authors keep writing. And thank goodness for that! Here, an array of artisanal, homegrown gifts that you really couldn’t find anywhere else. Ready to make a list?

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Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que Satisfies The Comfort Food Craving

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As we approach the deep gray of winter in New England, comfort food is a must. Bash Bish Brew & ‘Que in Sheffield, Mass. is happy to oblige. Brisket, pork and chicken are all smoked and seasoned to juicy perfection. And let’s not forget the sides — creamy collards, thick cornbread, molasses-drenched baked beans — made with love and rendered bacon by owner and talented pitmaster Jesse Watkins. But make no mistake, there is no pretense of Southern barbecue here. If you want that, go to Texas where it’s warm, says RI's Nichole Dupont, who spends a cold night with some serious sauces in her quiet hometown.

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Does your mother, husband, sister or son spend more time in their garden than inside their house? Then these gift ideas are for them. But the pruners, spades and watering cans our garden columnist, Madaline Sparks, picked out come so highly praised that you might end up keeping them for yourself.

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It sure is getting festive around here, and we were in the middle of it all at two of the season’s fun events. We followed the crowd to Warren Street as Hudson celebrated its 20th annual Winter Walk, and we found ourselves in a bidding frenzy at the Lichtenstein’s Wreath Art Auction.

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You may know our new recipe contributor, Lisa Fielding, from her food blog “The Duchess of Litchfield County” or as the chef behind The Secret Table pop-up dinner parties. This week, the boutique caterer shares with us a recipe for a classic beef tenderloin a.k.a. “the king of cuts.”

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Dining at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York is always a treat, but did you know the CIA's restaurants offer themed special events that focus on a specific cuisine? Take a tour through Italy via its fine wines or warm your hands around a bowl of New England clam chowder, braised beef stew or chicken soup. We've got the schedule here.

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You don’t have to have an Olympic gold medal in slalom to own your very own ski lodge in the woods. These cabin hideaways take the style’s soaring ceilings, open floor plans and stone fireplaces and add contemporary amenities such as a Jacuzzi tub, an indoor lap pool, wraparound decks and screened-in porches so you can revel in all four seasons.

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It’s been just about a year since the Kent, Conn. resident put MissMaddyMakes on Etsy, and business is really booming. Her products are pure fun — costumes for dogs, cats and guinea pigs – but what’s most impressive is that Maddy is a 15-year-old, homeschooled 10th grader. “I have lots of ideas and I’m always making new things,” she says.

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Instant Intelligence

For even more information about upcoming events, check out our Dining, Music & Dance, Visual Arts, Shopping, Books, Theater, Movies, Kids, and Save the Date sections. Please submit your own event to

Dec. 9, Great Barrington Mahaiwe Melissa Etheridge’s Holiday Trio: For this special holiday show, the Grammy-winner will sing fan favorites and holiday classics, such as “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “O Night Divine” and more. 8 p.m.

Dec. 10, Falls Village The David M. Hunt Library Two events: Holiday Market of local craft professionals at The Center on Main from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. & the 12X12 Flash Art Exhibit, featuring work by 56 local artists, at the library from 6–8 p.m.

Dec. 10, Rhinebeck Oblong Books & Music Meet power couple Julia Turshen & Grace Bonney. Turshen has co-authored cookbooks with many famous celebs. Her own new one is Small Victories. Bonney is the founder of Design*Sponge & author of In the Company of Women. 2 p.m. Read RI’s recent article about Grace Bonney and her new book.

Dec. 10, New Preston Winter Walk Shop the town’s 14 stores, stop by the new Owl Wine Bar, and enjoy festive window displays. Privet House will have a signing with Vogue editor Phyllis Posnick for her new book, Stoppers: Photographs from My Life at Vogue. 2-5 p.m.

Dec. 10, Great Barrington Holiday Sip & Stroll Enjoy food & drink while you shop downtown, plus live holiday music, hayrides, wreath-making, a store-to-store raffle, “live windows,” fireworks, a menorah & tree lighting, and a bonfire, plus tons of activities for kids. 3-7:30 p.m.

Dec. 10, Lenox It’s a Wonderful Night! Shakespeare & Company presents a benefit performance of the holiday production It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at 3 p.m., followed by a festive after-party to welcome Artistic Director Allyn Burrows at Firefly Gastropub. 

Dec. 10, Germantown Friends of Clermont Holiday Party This party opens the doors of the historic mansion as a thank you for all the support members have provided throughout the year. Join the Friends of Clermont & celebrate like a VIP with drinks, food & music. 5-7 p.m.

Dec. 10, Lenox An HMO Blue Christmas The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble presents a murder mystery dinner theater program. Dr. E. Ville, Anne Teak, nurse Vera Hotty Head, janitor Duane Pipe & Bonnie Anne Clyde are all suspects in this malpractice whodunit. Ventfort Hall, 6 p.m.

Dec. 10 & 11, Pittsfield Shire City Sanctuary The Holiday Shindy is a juried sale featuring 50+ of the region’s most notable makers, including screen-printers, textile artists, soap makers, jewelers, potters, woodworkers & more. Sat. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Sun. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dec. 10 & 11, Hudson Club Helsinki Part dance party, part funk concert, part comedy show, Everett Bradley’s “Holidelic” features original holiday songs as well as loose, funk-infused adaptations of Tchaikovsky, “Frosty the Snowman,” “Little Drummer Boy” and the like. 

Dec. 11, Norfolk Holidays in Norfolk: a day of extended store hours, plus trunk shows, dining specials, wreaths and trees, and musical events throughout the day. The fun begins at 10 a.m.

Dec. 11, Great Barrington Mahaiwe John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey in Midnight McCartney: a unique take on some of Paul McCartney’s most loved songs, performed in a special and intimate setting. 7 p.m.

Dec. 13, Stockbridge The Tuesday Club: Pianist Jean Stackhouse and the Stockbridge Library Hearthside Readers present music and stories from the winter solstice, Chanukah, Christmas & Kwanza. Holiday reception and tea to follow. First Congregational Church, 2 p.m.

Dec. 13, Red Hook Red Hook Public Library December’s selection for the Afternoon Book Group is Dying in Dubai: A Memoir of Marriage, Mourning and the Middle East. The book’s author, Roselee Blooston, will be on hand to take questions, share pictures and discuss her work. 2:30 p.m.

Dec. 15, Lenox The Mount Matt Tannenbaum discusses his 40 years of owning The Bookstore in Lenox. He’ll be joined by New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein, author of Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores, which features The Bookstore. 5 p.m. Read our Rural We with Matt Tannenbaum.

Dec. 16, West Stockbridge Diana Felber Gallery Special Holiday Reception & Sale: enjoy food, drink, music and 15% off everything in the studio. 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 17, Great Barrington Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market Local vegetables, apples, cheeses, meats, bread and crafts. Plus music, food and fun for kids. Monument Valley Middle School, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Dec. 17, Poughkeepsie Bardavon The Hudson Valley Philharmonic’s season continues with Handel’s Messiah with guest conductor Christine Howlett. Vocalists from Cappella Festiva join the HVP for a total of 100 instrumentalists & singers on the Bardavon stage. 2 p.m.

Dec. 17, Spencertown Grant and Twain Stephen Lang (Avatar) stars as Ulysses S. Grant in this reading of a new play by Elizabeth Diggs. Held at (and a benefit for) The Spencertown Academy Arts Center, 4 p.m.

Dec. 18, Williamstown Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market Local vegetables, apples, cheeses, meats, bread and crafts. Plus music, food and fun for kids. Williams College Towne Field House, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Dec. 18, Ghent High & Mighty Therapeutic Riding and Driving Center Annual Caroling to the Horses. Help ring in the Christmas cheer by enjoying holiday goodies and serenading the herd. Bring horsey treats to stuff the horses’ stockings. Dress warmly. 4-6 p.m.

Dec. 18, Hudson Club Helsinki Six-time “Drag Queen of the Year” award-winner Hedda Lettuce’s annual holiday cabaret, “Lettuce Rejoice!,” includes “Here Comes Tranny Clause,” “Do You Hear What I Hear” rendered as “Do You Think That He’s Queer” & more. 7 p.m.

Dec. 19, Pittsfield Dottie’s Coffee Lounge 4th Annual Manual: a last-minute guide for holiday shopping, featuring artisans selling leather wares, art, clothing, candles, jewelry, knits, lingerie, tinctures, massage & more. Plus drinks, music & a raffle to benefit Soldier On. 6-9 p.m.

For even more information about upcoming events, check out our:
Dining Intelligence (Listings of Food and Drink Events & Restaurant Features)
Music & Dance Listings
Visual Arts Listings
Local Shopping Listings
Books Listings
Theater Listings
Local Movies Listings
Kids Calendar Listings
Save the Date Listings
Please submit your own event to